John W. Whitehead: "Jesus Died in a Police State", The Rutherford Institute (31 March 2015)


As we approach Good Friday and contemplate the suffering and death that Jesus went through for our sakes, John W. Whitehead reminds us of an aspect that often gets forgotten: Jesus died in a police state. Speaking theologically, of course, Jesus' death was foreknown by God, and thus (I would argue) factored into God's Plan for the redemption of humanity; but speaking historically, that death took place within a specific set of historical circumstances: Jesus died, victim of an authoritarian, militaristic, imperial machine, and a corrupt religious elite.

"Unfortunately, the radical Jesus, the political dissident who took aim at injustice and oppression, has been largely forgotten today, replaced by a congenial, smiling Jesus trotted out for religious holidays but otherwise rendered mute when it comes to matters of war, power and politics. Yet for those who truly study the life and teachings of Jesus, the resounding theme is one of outright resistance to war, materialism and empire." (Whitehead)



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